Friday, October 15, 2010

After a small pause: bluelines are back on roads

As the Commonwealth Games came to an end, the fate of 1,600 Bluelines which were phased out from central Delhi and routes leading up to Games venues was hanging in balance. Though the buses will be back on the original routes from October 18 as per the official notification, sources say that the transport department, and Delhiites in general, seem to be keen to phase them out from the routes for good.

Right before the Games started, 1,600 Bluelines plying on 132 routes were put off the roads by Delhi government. The routes were those passing through New Delhi district and near Commonwealth Games venues. For some buses, the routes have been curtailed to ensure that they turn back before entering the designated area where no Bluelines will be allowed. The move is aimed at improving the ‘‘image and look’’ of areas which will be frequented by athletes, delegates and tourists during the Commonwealth Games.

With the Games coming to an end, the notification will also cease to have effect from October 18 when the buses return to their original routes. But the city seems to have gotten used to cleaner, disciplined roads while the ‘‘killer’’ fleet was away and this is now also prompting the government to look for a permanent solution. As for now, sources said that the possibility of extending the notification was looked into but this could have led to serious legal implications for the government, which is bound by a court order issued in May which banned the phase-out of Bluelines till the corporatisation scheme took off.

Encouraged by the response to the phase-out, the transport department is confident that the enhanced DTC fleet can meet the transportation demands of the city. Commuters, too, are a happy lot. ‘‘The DTC buses move a bit slower but are overall better than the Bluelines. They are more comfortable, the seats are not broken and the conductors don’t pick up fights with people on the way,’’ said Veena Prasad, a resident of Paschim Vihar.

Even motorists feel movement of traffic is smoother without the buses. ‘‘The Bluelines were a major nuisance on the roads. Traffic moves faster and there is less trouble on roads,’’ said Ashwani Kumar, resident of Niti Bagh.

The city has sufficient number of buses and another 2,200 DTC buses on Games duty will also be added to the fleet after October 14. Traffic experts feel with such a large number of buses present, there is no need to wait till the corporatisation scheme takes off to get rid of the Bluelines.